12 May 1995

SLOM 3 legal battle

LEGAL proceedings have been started in the European Court by two SLOM 3 producers seeking to challenge the EUs failure to award them compensation.

SLOM quota was introduced for a number of dairy farmers who failed to get any quota in 1984 because they were involved in non-marketing of milk schemes.

Following a series of cases in the European Court by SLOM 1 and SLOM 2 producers, compensation was awarded for losses sustained by being kept out of milk production for most of the 1980s. This was worth up to 10p/litre a year.

But to date no similar scheme has been introduced for SLOM 3 producers.

Oxfordshire farmer Ben Lay and Wiltshire partners Donald and David Gage say they have been treated unfairly. Advised by solicitor Joanne Keddie of London-based Dawson and Co, they have now taken their case to the European Court.

Dawsons is aware of two other German cases which are currently testing the water in the European Court. These should be heard later this year. But to avoid the risk of being excluded from any favourable judgment in these cases, Ms Keddie advises SLOM 3 producers to lodge their own applications with the European Court.

Mr Lay and Messrs Gage are also continuing with their challenge against MAFF over the size of their SLOM 3 awards. MAFF based this on the proportion of the non-marketing holding sold to the farmers. Dawsons believes it should be taken as a proportion of the holding under forage.